Building Development Control

What Is Building Development Control?

Building development control is a process that ensures that the progressive development of land for the residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial sectors are organized to promote and preserve the health of the inhabitants and the environment of Barbados.


What Problems Could Result From Unregulated Building Development?

  • Buildings can be subjected to structural damage resulting from unstable lands that are prone to slippage, cliff erosion, former landfills, and watercourses just to name a few.
  • Groundwater supplies can be polluted from the discharge of wastewater into the aquifer.
  • The creation of a nuisance to neighbouring properties from the discharge and release of substances into the environment.
  • The pollution of the marine environment from the discharge of industrial waste products.
  • The propagation of respiratory diseases from inadequately ventilated buildings.
  • Inadequate accommodation of welfare services in public places and places of employment.

What Is The Role Of The Building Development Control Section?

The Building Development Control Section ensures that all development in Barbados complies with national laws, policies and approved standards that promote health, safety, and environmental protection. This is achieved by carrying out the following functions:

  • Reviewing all applications for residential, commercial and industrial developments;
  • Evaluating primary wastewater treatment systems; and
  • Providing technical advice with respect to the investigation of building-related complaints.

All applications for the construction, extension or material alteration of a building are forwarded to the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) by the Town and Country Development Planning Office (TCDPO). Approval must be granted by both the EPD and the TCDPO before construction is commenced. Applications are also made directly to the EPD in accordance with Regulation 3 of the Health Services (Building) Regulations 1969.


The Building Development Control Section's functions are derived from the Health Services Act CAP. 44 and the Health Services (Building) Regulations, 1969. Section 3 (1) of the Health Services (Building) Regulations, 1969 states that “A person who desires to construct, extend or effect any materials alteration to any building shall apply in writing to the Minister.”

Section 3 (2) of the Health Services (Building) Regulations, 1969 further states that “The application shall be accompanied by scale drawings prepared in duplicate, showing details of the proposed construction, extension or material alteration and of the proposed drainage and sanitary facilities.”

In addition to the legislation mentioned above, building applications submitted to the EPD are assessed using several statutes and standards including:

  1. Health Services (Food Hygiene) Regulations, 1969
  2. Health Services (Restaurants) Regulations, 1969
  3. Health Services (Private Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Senior Citizen’s Homes, and Maternity Homes) Regulations, 2005
  4. Health Services (Nuisances) Regulations, 1969
  5. Health Services (Disposal of Offensive Matter) Regulation, 1969
  6. Groundwater Protection Zoning Policy
  7. Marine Pollution Control Act, CAP. 392A
  8. International codes and standards including the World Health Organization Guidelines for Ambient Air Quality and ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2011

What Can You Do To Ensure That Your Development Does Not Have Any Negative Impacts On The Environment?

  • Seek consultation with officers of the EPD during the design stage of a project.
  • Apply to the EPD for permission before embarking on any construction or material alteration of any building.
  • Ensure that your building development has the approval of the EPD before starting any construction.
  • Make sure that lands selected for development have no restrictions e.g. Zone 1, reclaimed land (former landfill) or watercourses.
  • Construct water storage tank(s) in a manner to prevent mosquito breeding.
  • Ensure that wastewater disposal wells and septic tanks are easily accessible to allow for adequate maintenance.
  • Contact the EPD and request an inspection of all wastewater treatment and disposal system prior to building occupancy.